On Rebranding Feminism

by Charlotte Fassler
October 2, 2013
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The much buzzed-about November issue of Elle U.K. hits stands today. It will feature a partnership between three leading advertising agencies and three feminist groups to work on rebranding a word that the magazine feels is generally misconstrued: Feminism.

We’ve talked about the stigmatization of the F-word  and how the real issues with understanding this term stem from how rarely it’s used in the correct context. We’re curious to see what Elle does with the rebranding, and to see if it helps clarify the definition of modern feminism through resources tangible to its readers.

Above are some of the collaborative ads created for the project — from left to right: teenage campaigner Jinan Younis’ work with ad agency Brave; Charlotte Raven, editor of the Feminist Times and her collaboration with Mother; and satirical feminist group Vagenda’s work with Wieden + Kennedy.

Now let’s talk about it. Do you think feminism needs a makeover? Do you think Elle U.K. is the right channel to do so? Will you buy the issue?

[ELLE Rebrands Feminism via Elle U.K.]Image via Jezebel.

REPLIES
  • Claire

    I don’t think it needs a makeover but it needs a clearer microphone. It’s equality, nothing more and nothing less.

    • francine friedman

      Feminism was meant to remove a fixed set of expectations. Not necessarily bring about equality, but enable women to do/be whatever they want. Personally, I would never want the pinnacle of my ambition to reach a point where all I wanted was to be equal to a man.

      • Claire

        Definitely! Not the pinnacle of my ambition either. The idea of feminism get very concerted in media sometimes. It’s empowering to me and also about being able to have no limit on my exceptions.

  • Qchop

    I think each one of these ads is great. The writer on the Jezebel story says that treating feminism as a brand is “troubling” because consumer culture doesn’t do women any favors, but why not use it against itself? It don’t think it’s going to leave us any worse off than we are now. Moreover, branding is powerful and effective. And Jezebel is kidding itself if it doesn’t realize it has it’s own branding project. Jezebel says that what “feminism” needs to “be more inclusive and more aware of a variety of perspectives — i.e., of
    women of color, poor women, trans women, disabled women, etc. It does
    not, however, need to ‘rebrand.’”I think the concepts of feminism these ads advocate for actually IS inclusive because it gets at the foundational issues that run through all of lives–regardless of race, class or gender. It is a mistake to say that someone is not being the best possible advocate unless you are working for X,Y,Z particular sub-types. Just getting people to acknowledge the wage gap (and that it is a result of prejudice not the result of “legitimate” difference that can be rationalized away) would be a HUGE step forward that I don’t think we will be able to attain if we get caught up trying to get people to acknowledge all of the many faces of gender inequality/ feminism.

  • http://www.tomorrowtodayblog.com/ Rita

    yes this word needs a makeover – it’s been bastardized into one specific ideal, and ultimately, all it means to be a feminist is to believe in equality of the sexes.

    ELLE typically has more compelling, thought provoking content than other women’s magazines, so it makes sense that they are taking this on… but ELLE UK readers are likely already on board, and this campaign would be more impactful if it was distributed through another magazine/vehicle.

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